Hospice care aims to improve the lives of people whose illness is no longer curable. It helps them to live as fully as possible to the end. It seeks to relieve the physical symptoms of illness while equally addressing the patient’s emotional and spiritual needs. Hospice care also provides support to families and those who are important to the patient, and extends its reach into bereavement. Hospice care can be provided in various care settings, such as a hospice, your home, a family member’s home, a hospital or a nursing home.
You may also be seen by the palliative care team at this time. This team are there to help with any symptoms you have and to support you and your family throughout your treatment. Palliative care is a free service for all patients with advanced cancer. You do not need medical insurance. Palliative care aims to improve the quality of life of patients and their families when their cancer can no longer be cured. As well as providing relief from pain, nausea and other symptoms, palliative care offers support and comfort to patients and their families. For more information on palliative care, see this short video from the Irish Association for Palliative Care.
Planning for end of life is useful for everyone, whether they have an illness or not. Planning for end of life
allows you to lessen decision-making burdens on your family, and for you to know that your wishes will be respected. It can be upsetting to think about the future when you have advanced cancer. However, many people find it gives them peace of mind to plan for the end of life.
By planning ahead, many people feel at ease knowing that medical plans are in place and legal and practical matters are in order, even though they still hope to live for a long time. Think Ahead
is an Irish Hospice Foundation programme. It provides a guide to members of the public to help you discuss and record your preferences in the event of an emergency, serious illness, or death. The Think Ahead form
allows you to record your wishes about care in the event of serious illness or death. Details about your emergency contacts, health information, legal information, financial affairs and wishes for care after death can be documented on the form and shared with family and loved ones.
Medical Social Workers
The job of a medical social worker is to provide an effective medical social work service which facilitates optimum social and emotional wellbeing among patients and those affected by their illness. Social workers can assit in finding schemes which may reduce the financial burden placed on you due to your cancer diagnosis, as well as resolve any social, practical or emotional difficulties that impact on their ability to cope with their illness.
Visit the sites in the list below for more information on medical social workers and how to contact them through your nearest hospital.